A Good Cup Of Coffee
Overwhelming kindness swept me off my feet, like the feeling of falling in love or the exhilaration of a wild ride in an amusement park. I was taken aback and tears of gratitude welled in my eyes. All this over a cup of coffee.
It was a beautiful warm day in this seaside paradise I call home. The air was clean, a perfect seventy five degrees and a soft breeze blew off the ocean. It was the kind of day that ends up getting written about on postcards and sent home to be the envy of all your family not lucky enough to be with you.
I was working at my part time job in a little ecclectic gift shop. Shortly after 1 o’clock my lousy nights sleep was beginning to catch up to me. Caught yawning for about the third time, a customer jokingly asked me if it was “nap time”. I laughed and said “On the contrary, it’s coffee time.”
I love coffee. Great coffee, like this beautiful day, is one of life’s treasures. I’m personally grateful to the unknown people of history who figured out the process of roasting beans, crushing them into powder and running hot water through it to create bliss in a cup. Bliss that just so happens to wake you up, makes you able to concentrate better and, oh yea, tastes amazing. Well, it tastes amazing if it’s “good” coffee. There’s very little in this world that is worse than bad coffee.
My customer and I chatted for a moment about good coffee. She told me she’d be happy to get me a cup, but I told her I had no cash. I never carry it. She then offered to watch my store while I went next door to get some at the bagel shop. I declined because, to be honest, their coffee is of the “bad” kind, always burnt, with the flavor destoyed. We then discussed my opinion that places that serve breakfast should not be allowed to serve bad coffee. If anything, the coffee should be amazing like a warm cup of joy that makes you close your eyes to savor it and not be distracted by anything but the happiness you feel while drinking it. She agreed. She then told me she would get me a cup of good coffee! What? Did I hear that right? We were total strangers having just met and she was going to spend money on me? I was raised not to take advantage of others, so of course I said “No, but thank you. That’s very kind of you.” I really didn’t know what else to say, I was overwhelmed. On her way out the door she asked if I took cream and sugar. Laughingly I responded, “One raw sugar and a little cream”. I again told her not to get me anything, but somewhere deep inside I felt like she might.
Quite a while passed. Other customers came and went. I went outside at one point to breathe in a little of the lovely weather while there was no one in the shop. I sat outside and found myself secretly hoping she would return, coffee in hand. I immediately felt guilty. This kind woman offered to bring me a small cup of joy and even though I politely refused, I secretly wanted her to. Maybe just to see if she would but mostly because I needed the boost and I couldn’t go get it myself.
After few minutes later I went back inside and started thinking that she had probably moved on with her day. It was just a nice thing to say on her part and by now she had forgotten all about it. I felt silly looking out the window for her. Who does that, right? Who buys coffee for a perfect stranger with no expectation of anything in return?
More time passed, I had people milling about the shop and I was in conversation with another friendly customer when the unexpected happened. She walked in the door carrying my salvation. Or was it? She came up to me as the previous customer was happily on her way with her purchase, depositing on the counter a soup container. Puzzled, I thought, “well, soup was good too, I had recently been sick after all.” She then proceeded to explain that she looked around for a place that served good coffee, and the fine restaurant she had gone to for lunch didn’t offer coffee to go, so they put it into a soup container. She said she just had to get it there because she had enjoyed it so much with her meal. She then gave me packets of raw sugar and small cup of cream with a stirrer.
I was elated. Not only because I had coffee but for the obvious reason of what she had done, plus my desire to put my head on the wrap up desk and go to sleep, hoping no one would steal anything while I was napping, would be gone. I realize it’s only a cup of coffee but, nonetheless, it was an act of kindness I certainly don’t experience every day.
I thanked her profusely. She smiled and, after making a purchase in the store, was on her way again, but not before leaving an impression on me, like a bright and colorful tattoo showing on my arm.
She renewed my faith that there is kindness and altruism in the world and reminded me that I should “pay it forward” whenever possible.
Perhaps it was the quality of the coffee or maybe how I came to receive it, but either way, it was one of the best cups of coffee EVER.